Brexit Raises Questions About Bulgaria's EU Chairmanship in 2018

Bulgaria in EU | June 24, 2016, Friday // 21:38|  views

Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva. Photo: BGNES

The outcome of Thursday's referendum on the UK's membership to the EU, in which 51.9 % of British voters supported Brexit, raises questions about the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU which is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2018.

This is the case as Bulgaria is in a presidency trio with the UK and Estonia.

In an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva said that the next days will be decisive in this respect.

Kuneva added that a lots of talks were forthcoming with the general secretariat of the Council of the EU in order to find the best possible solution.

She revealed that prior to the referendum several possible options have been discussed.

One of them foresaw for the UK to remain in the trio, but this is increasingly less likely after the results from the referendum.

The other option is for Malta to take over the British presidency which would extend its chairmanship from six to twelve months, but this would represent formidable challenge for the country.

The third most realistic option is Estonia to assume the chairmanship earlier which would in turn directly affect Bulgaria.

Kuneva reminded that until recently there were opinions that Bulgaria has began its preparation for the chairmanship too early, but now with the outcome of the referendum there should be a sense of urgency.

In particular, it is urgent to decide what will happen with the priorities that Bulgaria had planned to carry out with the UK and whether the format of the trio will be changed.

There are also a lot of technical issues to be reviewed – from the documents to the communication programme.

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Tags: Bulgaria, EU, UK, Brexit, Referendum, Council of the EU, chairmanship, presidency, Malta, Estonia, Meglena Kuneva


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